The few TV shows we watch tend to take place here as well. (Sherlock!)
Call me easily amused, but it does tend to thrill me when Diamond, from George MacDonald's At the Back of the North Wind, pulls his buggy up to the King's Cross taxi stand, and I remember standing in that very queue on a rainy afternoon. Or when Mr. Pickwick and friends visit the Pump Rooms in Bath, and I recognize our trip to the Fashion Museum in that same building. Or when Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman solve a mystery involving Underground stops where we've been swept along in a human tide.
Charles Dickens has grown in my affections this year, which is to say that he's come a long way since I slogged through Great Expectations in middle school. I re-read A Tale of Two Cities a few months ago and cried again. That lit the way toward David Copperfield, which Dickens justifiably claims as his favorite of all his books (and where Harry Potter fans may notice hints of inspiration). Loved it. After finishing The Pickwick Papers, I decided it was time to go on a Charles Dickens tour with London Walks. Care for a peek?
At the Inns of Court, where several of Dickens' legal scenes are set
A scene from Martin Chuzzlewit takes place here, although much of the book is set in America. Dickens was not a fan of Americans at the time, since although he was very popular on his first book tour there, he wasn't earning any royalties from American sales. Twenty five years later, he visited for the second time and felt that as a people, we had "matured." Yay us!
The Royal Courts of Justice. I can't remember any specific Dickens connection, but it's on the Strand, he would have passed this building all the time, and I just think it's a gorgeous building.
Dickens, who was quite the man about town, ate at this restaurant all the time, including with his much-younger paramour … and her chaperoning mother. That's not awkward, is it?! I do think the awning might have looked a bit different at the time. :-)
If you squint, you can see a round blue plaque, just above the street lamp. This building used to house a factory where Charles Dickens had to go to work while his father was in debtors' prison. He was eleven years old, and worked twelve hour days, six days a week. Can you imagine?? As a mother, I certainly can't.
By the way, the children stayed home for this one. I knew they wouldn't quite share my enthusiasm for spending two hours pounding the pavement in homage to an author they have yet to really connect with. But I'm glad I went anyway, for my own sake and theirs. As a mother, and especially a homeschooling mother, it's easy to find myself centered on their education and development. But sometimes I think one of the best gifts we can give our kids is inspiration. They need living proof that lifelong learning isn't a chore, or something that's limited to one's school days or years, but is a fire that can continue to burn when the requirements fall away.
I'd humbly submit that it's important to keep reading the classics. Keep taking classes -- there's so much available online, often for free, in addition to what you might find locally. Keep exploring around town, wherever curiosity leads. Our people need us, but we can't give very much from a dry well. Besides, it's just so much fun!